Monthly Archives: June 2016

Cooking with Olive Oil

About Olive oil

The olive tree is a crop native to Asia Minor which spread to the rest of the Mediterranean, plus Iran and Palestine around 6,000 years ago. It is one of the oldest cultivated trees and has been growing long before the written language existed.

There are many uses of olive oil. Not only is it a gourmet cooking product, it also has a series of health and beauty benefits. The polyphenols which is found in olive oil has been shown to slow down the process of aging. Studies have also shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease and also has the ability to reduce the effect of oncogene, the gene which turns a host cell into a cancer cell.

Flavours of the olive can depend on a range of factors including the type of olive, the ripeness of the harvest, riping conditions, crop maintenance and how the olives are handled. When tasting, much of the oils characteristics are perceived through the sense of smell. A trained taster can identify negative elements within the oil.

Cooking with Olive Oil

Some olive oils cannot stand the heat of the pan. Some types have a low smoking point and if they reach this point it means that they lose their unique flavour. Standard oils and pure olive oil are suitable for frying. Unlike extra virgin olive oil, they have been created by a refining process which strips out most of the unique flavour which can be found in extra virgin olive oil and is therefore, it available at a cheaper price.

On the other hand, extra virgin olive oil needs to be cooked with care. It is the highest grade of olive oil so if it is heated to a high temperature it loses its flavour straight away.  It is more frequently added to meat or fish which is already cooked or made into marinades, dressings and just purely drizzled over fresh pasta, salads and bread.

Another delightful dish including classical Mediterranean ingredients includes olive tapenade, a flavoursome dish which can served with bread or crudités to finish. Please see recipe below:

Olive Tapenade

Ingredients include:

2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Handful of parsley
300g pitted black olives
6 anchovy fillets
3 tbsp chopped capers
1 juice of a lemon
1 garlic clove

A simple process: just mix of the ingredients together and add enough olive oil to create a paste. If you require a smooth texture use a blender to combine the ingredients. Again add more oil if you for more of a paste texture.

Olive oil should be stored in a dark, cool place and not in the refrigerator as it will eventually solidify. It should be kept in an odourless container and stored in cupboards that are not exposed to strong smell otherwise the oil will absorb the various smells.

If it is properly stored the oil can last of at least two years, however it has the best flavour in the first two months of opening so use it as much as you can then!

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This gourmet cooking companion comes in a variety of types and flavours, including infused olive oil. Combine with other gourmet delights such as balsamic vinegar, speciality dried pasta and sherry vinegars to make the ultimate gift for foodies.

How a Bigger Yard is Safer for Kids and Pets

The east coast has really interesting topography. Hills run into lakes, lakes abut forests, and forests run through residential territories. For people who live near Annapolis, MD, and other east coast cities, it can reduce the amount of usable yard. Having a bigger yard isn’t just a matter of wanting space, believe it or not having a big clear yard can make your yard safer for pets and children. To properly clear a yard though you often need to hire excavating companies as the work is not easily done by home owners. Home owners can handle some parts of it, perhaps clearing brush and a few smaller stones, but for stump removal or bigger issues they’ll need the help of professionals.

What excavating can do is make a bigger safer yard. Now, how does having those things, things like rocks, trees and brush, in the yard make it less safe? The first thing to consider is that the more brush and the like there is the more habitat for ticks. It’s hard to get kids to be responsible and check themselves for ticks, and dogs won’t understand. You can at least treat a dog for ticks and other things, but they can still get bit and it’s rather unpleasant to have to pull a tick out. Some of the medications can cause the tick to die after it bites meaning you’re pulling a tick corpse out of your pet.

Now if you live in Northwestern Maine the ticks aren’t much of a concern and you’re quite likely looking at an untenable project to clear you back yard, so perhaps even professional excavating isn’t worth it, but that’s from a special set of circumstances (extreme geography, too cold for ticks and the like, and very rocky land in parts). The Annapolis, MD region would be a more suitable place for excavating projects, the reward is higher and the cost is lower. Brush also provides cover for other critters that might be a bit bigger but less friendly to people.

Snakes and the like tend to like shady places where they have cover for concealment. Rocks and brush can provide the cover they want. Now if you live near the woods you might want train your children to avoid snakes and what to look for. If they’re younger you have to worry about how well they paid attention, and how well they internalized the lesson. Even if you’re not worried about snakes, the extra cover provides shelter for smaller critters. Squirrels and other pests can damage your property, and drive your dog insane with their mere presence. That’s also not even dealing with the issue of tripping and falling hazards. Sure children aren’t made of glass but you don’t want them running unsupervised at a young age through rocks and roots where they could seriously hurt themselves.

There are a lot of good reasons to want to have excavating work done on your yard. It’s not an easily done project by hand, and is something that requires professional assistance in many cases. Look for local companies that can handle it, and that won’t be too hard. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a clear and level backyard just because you prefer the look of it either. East coast cities like Annapolis boast large enough populations to support businesses in excavating, or just construction/contractors who know how to excavate. Whether you want a bigger flatter yard for its own sake, or for a specific purpose it can help a lot with children and pets to have the space and safety.

Excavating Annapolis, MD Carroll Bros Contracting is an Annapolis Maryland based contracting company who will take care of your needs for excavating. Get in touch with them.

3 Tips to Continuing Vegetable Gardening into the Cooler Months

As the weather changes from hot to cold there presents a great opportunity to extend your vegetable gardening season with cooler crops. Most home vegetable gardeners call it quits once their warm weather crops come to an end. A long growing season and lots of work as well as looking forward to other fall activities lead to many to say, “I’ll wait until next spring.”

Before you start thinking about your fall vegetable garden as being burdensome, take some of these tips into account and you will see you can extend your growing season without very much effort.

Keep it Small
One of the best ways to ensure a successful small garden is to keep it small. There is no need to grow lots of vegetables in the fall (unless you want to of course). You can grow a handful just to keep it going, and keep it fun. A four foot by four foot area is perfect.

Keep it Close
Fact is when you can see your garden and it’s within reasonable eye sight from your back door or kitchen window you are more likely to maintain it. My rule of thumb is no further than 10 feet away.

Grow What You Will Eat
I absolutely love spinach, and fortunately for me, spinach is a cool weather crop, perfect for my fall garden. Since I know I love to eat spinach, it makes it easier to grow it, since I am anxious for it to be done. Follow this tip and you are sure to keep your fall vegetable gardening at its peak interest. Grow what you know you will eat.

Sure none of these tips are ground breaking news, but implementing them after a long summer growing season will definitely go a long way to growing even more vegetables in the cooler months that follow.

Start with picking our your area no more than 10 feet away, plantings vegetables that you know you will eat and you will be all set. In a few short weeks, before winter sets in, you will have some more great tasting fresh vegetables on the dinner table once again. About the Author
Michael C. Podlesny is the president of and a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club.

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About the Author
Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC is the exclusive home of the seeds of the month club where you can get 4 packs of vegetable, fruit and herb seeds every month.

Pizza Done the Healthy Way

If you are starting to watch your weight but are having a very difficult time giving up some of your favorite foods like pizzas, you are probably not alone, and you really do not need to give it up. Just like many other foods, there are healthy options as you look at making them. As you try to formulate a healthy one, take into consideration your crust, sauce, and the toppings. You will be surprised at how delicious your healthy pizzas will be.

The crust is a very important part of a pizza, but if you are trying to watch your carbohydrate intake and fat intake, it is a mistake to keep eating your favorite buttery, deep dish crust or your cheese stuffed one, or even your average crust made with white flour. The crust in the first two have a lot of fat and carbohydrates, and the latter one will just provide a lot of carbohydrates. An alternative to these less healthy crusts is to ask at a restaurant if they have a whole wheat crust and if they can make it a thin crust. This will still have carbohydrates, but they will be much healthier. Just ordering a thinner crust will help if the restaurant does not have a whole wheat one. If you make pizzas at home, you can try making a thinner crust with whole wheat flour, or you can make personal pizzas using whole wheat flour tortilla shells. Make sure to compare the carbohydrates and calories as you choose what you would like to use, because it will vary between brands.

The sauce is another important part of a pizza that you can make somewhat healthier than it already is. If you go to a restaurant, it probably is not worth worrying too much about the sauce, except you could just ask them to go light on it. If you are at home and make your own sauce, you could just add a little less sugar than normal, and that would cut some calories.

When it comes to your toppings, they can either make or break you. Cheese is major calorie filler, but not many people really want pizza without cheese, so you need to think of what the healthiest option might be. If you enjoy Feta cheese, then it is a good alternative to many of the other cheeses that you might put on a pizza. You could even mix it with a bit of mozzarella. Cheddar cheese is actually higher in calorie than mozzarella, so you would be smart not to add that to the mix or parmesan because it is also higher in calories. Cheese is a wonderful topping, but if you are making or buying healthy pizzas, why not add some healthy toppings like vegetables? Spinach is a healthy option, as are various peppers. Olives are a fairly high calorie food that you might want to stay away from if you want to cut back on calories. Green and black are not quite as high as Kalamata.

You will feel much better about your diet when you make or order a healthier pizza. It may take some getting used to when you begin eating healthy, because those unhealthy ingredients can be addicting. You will soon realize that a healthy taste is a good one too.

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Use the Microwave to Reheat Food


A microwave can reduce the required cooking time with
25% when compared to traditional ovens.Most homes include microwaves as it is a
lifesaver when you are looking for some quick meal. A small sized microwave
oven is the best option for those who will not cook much but want it for the
food and leftover reheating option. Microwaves are now available in various
colors, but the most popular colors are white, black, stainless steel and silver.

 When you are looking for a microwave oven, you need to
determine for what and how frequently you are going to use it. You should
select a more expensive and feature packed model if you will use the microwave
for most heated cooking process.

 The currently available models provide convenience,
numerous great features and increased performance compared to older versions.
Today, there is a high demand for microwaves and they include various features
and tools. In the past, when microwaves just started to become popular, they
had various problems and imperfections, for instance they did not have adequate
power regulators and timing features.

 Try to find microwaves that are affordable but which
still offer maximum convenience and most features. You will find various brands
and models on the market with various different features to help you cook food
as quickly and simple as possible. There are also incorporated ovens that are
similar to convection ovens with extra features.

 With the help of the right kitchen appliances and
tools, there is almost nothing that can’t be cooked in the microwave. Just keep
in mind to make sure that liquids and foods cooked in the microwave will not
bubble up or splash during the cooking process. It is recommended to cover them
with a napkin or a lid, preventing the occurrence of such unwanted events.

 The microwave is the best option if you never have
time for cooking meals as a result of your busy lifestyle. Today, it is quite a
challenge to find a home that has no microwave in the kitchen.


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Get Someone Back by Apologizing!

After someone has walked out on you, you can become consumed on how to get them back but it does not have to be difficult. It really doesn’t matter when it happened. Whether it is a few hours ago or a few months ago. the same principles will apply. What it does take however, is for you to be determined and committed to taking the necessary action. Sometimes you can get someone back by apologizing!

If you truly want to get someone back by apologizing your first step is to determine what went wrong and most importantly what was your role in what went wrong. I know for many of you the answer is nothing but we both know if you are honest there might be a shred of “you” involved. Besides we are not looking to establish blame. It’s more about figuring out what you need to do to apologize for your actions and what steps you need to take to make things right. Remember there are two of you in this relationship and it takes two to break the same relationship so take your share of the blame. If you find it difficult to look at the situation objectively then maybe close friends and/or relatives can help you sort it out. If necessary, get with a professional to help you look at things more objectively. These other sources can also be helpful in the next step.

The second part of the apology involves explaining to your ex how what happened won’t ever happen again. Not only do you understand what you did and the results but you are taking steps to make sure that there will not be a repeat. They will be impressed at the effort you put into the apology and the plan to insure it doesn’t happen again and they will see that you are serious and sincere about what you are saying.

The bottom line is that to get someone back by apologizing, you are going to need an effective, top of the line apology. The apology will serve two goals: an explanation of why you’re sorry and an explanation of what actions you are going to take to make sure what got you in trouble isn’t going to happen again. Get these two objectives right and your apology will be very effective.

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Saving your relationship can be hard work but if you truly feel it’s worth it, then you need to take the time and energy to put it back together. If you feel you are alone and have no one to turn to, I can tell you there is a resource that has helped literally thousands of people worldwide save their marriage or relationship. This source is easy to get and is guaranteed to help. The book is called “The Magic of Making Up” and it is truly magical as demonstrated by the incredible response by people who has used it. If you would like to see a few testimonials as well as some helpful videos that can help you today, go to

Organic Gardening – 5 Tips For Watering With Sprinkler Systems

Organic gardens usually require less water as you amend and build up your soil. Organic gardeners want Mother Nature to be the boss since real rain is the best medicine for any lawn and garden. Non-organic gardeners don’t want to run the sprinkler system either for that matter, especially when they open their water bill!

Our common goal is to never run the sprinkler system -or as my friend Mike likes to call it “upside down rain”. But droughts or extremely hot weather usually turn our no run plans into a non-starter. The challenge we all face is how to best manage our sprinkler system for maximum effectiveness with the least amount of water used.

The reality is that most homeowners water too much, not too little. These tips will require you to turn off that switch in your head that says “more water” and let your garden tell you what it needs.

1. Equipment check: Run your sprinkler system while you are watching! Ensure that all sprinklers are working correctly and all parts of your landscape are being reached by the relevant sprinkler and you’re not watering too much of the street. I recommend you do this at the start and midway through the growing season. Lawn mowers damage sprinkler heads and your plants will grow through out the season so what worked before may no longer be the case.

2. Sprinkler schedule: Your sprinkler system should only run 1-2 days a week in the heat of the summer when there is no rainfall. You only need about 1 to 1.5 inches of rain a week to maintain your landscape so keep a rain guage out or pay attention to the weather to see if you need to run your system. Why so few times? You want to run your sprinkler through multiple cycles each time it runs for ground saturation and then you want to let it dry out just in time for the next sprinkler run. This forces the roots deeper since they follow the water deep into the soil which allows your plants to better withstand dry conditions in the future.

3. Cycles for each zone: The number of times you water each zone on the days you run your system depends on your soil and how easily it absorbs water. Excessive water run off on the sidewalk or driveway will tell you that you can reduce your cycles or the time for each cycle. Remember we want to saturate the ground, not just water the surface.

4. Cycle Start Times: Start your cycles before dawn and finish before the sun is above the horizon. This will prevent excessive evaporation in the heat of the day and also reduce any fungus issues that might arise with a wet lawn and cooler temperatures if you were to run the system early in the evening.

5. Zone Run Times: Adjust your run times for the type of sprinkler heads in each zone and the amount of sun each zone receives. Pop up sprayers are a constant spray to specific area while rotor sprayers will water each area once on each pass so they will probably need almost twice as much time as a pop up for the same amount of water. The southern and west sides of the yard receive more sun and will probably need more water while the northern and east sides may not need as much.

So, what could this look like all summed up?

Most sprinkler systems have 6-8 zones so you’ll need to make sure that you give enough time to run through the cycle before you start to cycle through again.

Follow these tips and you’ll have both a healthy landscape and more money in your pocket!

Susan LaRocca has 1 articles online

Susan LaRocca has experience in landscaping and organic gardening in the Dallas, Texas area. If you would like more information on organic gardening and a free organic gardening 6 day course “Organic Gardening Magic” visit

Utilizing A Skillet While Cooking

A skillet is a flat bottom pan used for frying food items. It is often called as a frying pan or simply a fry pan. It is surrounded by smaller sides (circular; all through) which move outwards. It is an open pan with no lid and has a long handle which has a coating. The lower side which gets heated is flat. Skillets are used for a variety of purposes in terms of cooking but mostly for frying and browning operations during cooking. There are many types of skillets available with alterations in the length of the circular side flaring upwards. Newer skillets come with an angular handle for better usage and handling.

Cast Iron and Copper Skillets

A skillet is popular with chefs all over, more so with chefs preparing meat dishes. Skillets were traditionally made from copper and cast iron, however many different types of metals are now used to make skillets. Copper is popular due to its excellent heat conductivity. But copper skillets need extra care in cleaning and general maintenance due to tarnishing which requires polishing regularly.

Cast iron skillets have a major worry of rusting if washed from time to time. Chefs wipe the cast iron frying pan after every use but there is a chance that previous frying may affect the next frying session in terms of taste.

Other Metals Used for Making Skillets

Aluminum is also used often as it requires very little maintenance and like copper is an excellent conductor of heat. But if you take durability, heat conductivity and maintenance in to the scheme, skillets made from stainless steel are popular.

Teflon Coating Used in Skillets

As skillets are used for frying, there is a constant problem of food material sticking to its surface. To get even with this problem, latest skillets have a non-sticky coating known as Teflon coating. The only problem with this non sticky coating is that it may peel off after a considerable amount of usage.

Zeroing on the type of skillet for usage is a personal question as some people are used to a certain type of metal-made skillet. If we are talking about numbers, Teflon coated skillets are quite popular as well.

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Back In Time

Let’s go back in time…it’s 1967 and the headlines back then read:

US Airforce intensifies the bombing of North Vietnam . . .
U.S. plans to start missile net…
1967 Pan Am Games…
13 US helicopters are shot down in Vietnam…
Writer and historian Bernard B. Fall is killed by a Viet Cong…
Military Coup in Greece…
Six Day War…
Egyptians blockade the Straits of Tiran…
Israeli Air Force launched a pre-emptive strike…
Large Scale War Protest Begins…
Johnson meets Kosygin…

WOW, 1967 was a year for protests and military actions! Does any of this sound familiar? If you were to ad the word “Iraq” in with any of these headlines, it would be something you might hear today.

Let’s try another one: U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote (NYT 9/4/1967)
If we replaced Vietnam with Iraq it would read: U.S. Encouraged by Iraq Vote, (CNN 1/30/2005)
Funny how history repeats itself. The point I’m trying to get is our Iraq war is another Vietnam. We are viewing it the same way and our government hopes and desires are the same. Many headlines from 1967 can be “reused” as headlines today. Below is the entire headline and story from Sept. 4th, 1967…

Don’t forget to add the word Iraq in the place of Vietnam then you decide-Ken

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3– United States officials were surprised and
heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s
presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to
disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million
registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked
reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to
destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a
preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete
returns reaching here.

Pending more detailed reports, neither the State Department nor the
White House would comment on the balloting or the victory of the
military candidates, Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running
for president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate for vice
A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President
Johnson’s policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional
processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a
constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which
President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky
and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon
Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays
since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by
a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted
or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals
who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not,
in the Administration’s view, diminish the significance of the
constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver
with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese
politics. That hope could have been dashed either by a small
turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in
constitutional development, or by the Vietcong’s disruption of the

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout. That was
the figure in the election in September for the Constituent
Assembly. Seventy-eight per cent of the registered voters went to
the polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Before the results of the presidential election started to come in,
the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80
per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three
hours less than in the election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per
cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in the 1964 United States
Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a
serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be
required to render the election meaningless. This effort has not
succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967

Ken Slater is the Editor of

Understanding Why Home Improvement Estimates Vary

Fact is, there’s no constant thing in this world but change and with the advancement in technology these changes are rolling in faster than you anticipate.  Whatever your lifestyle is, your home is a crucial part of it and when the need for change arise so does the need for home improvement.  

With the New York housing market always in a crunch, reselling and buying a new house is not just practical.  When venturing into such projects, one of the key essentials to success is a well-detailed plan and this includes a good estimate.  Whether you are in Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, or Staten Island; you will invariably get different home improvement estimates.  And this article lays out the details to help you understand why home improvement estimates vary.

Home improvement estimates are crucial in helping you prepare a sizable budget that will get you through the completion of whatever project you plan to undertake and even cover unexpected problems along the way.  When getting details about this, a general rule of thumb to stick to is that too huge or little amount should raise the red flag.  Wherever the case falls, you are being scammed.  Either the contractor is taking advantage of you and overpricing or he is asking for too little because quality materials and services is not a guarantee.

The great thing about asking for home improvement estimates today is the tight competition that has opened many delightful opportunities for homeowners to take advantage of.  Now, you can get free, no-obligation remodeling project assessments from qualified contractors.  And you have to understand that what you get will surely vary but if you understand what factors affect each estimate, then it will be easier for to discern which contractor evaluation will get you the best value for your remodeling money.

1.  Size and Scope of Remodeling Project

How huge will the remodeling project be and what will it take for it to be completed, labor and time-wise?  It is important to establish a checklist of your needs and wants, arranged according to priority.  The more detailed the specification you can give the contractor, the more accurate home improvement estimates you can expect.  

2.  Materials to Be Used

What are the materials you plan to use and will the acquisition of such be included in the cost evaluation?  Of course, there would be a great difference if you decide to choose getting a granite slab or painted concrete for your countertops.  Aside from the difference in material prices, you also have to decide whether you would want the contractor to also handle the buying of these materials which will add to his labor fee or you want to do it yourself.

3.  Craftsmanship

The contractor that you choose to work with you is among the keys that will bring you a leap closer to remodeling project success.  It is just understandable that experienced, multi-skilled, and specialized contractors will be charging higher fees than newbies.  This difference will greatly make the variations in home improvement estimates. But it is not really about the professional but the guarantee of quality that you will get, ensuring that you will get the best value for your money.

Eugene Makeev has 1 articles online

Eugene Makeev uses his skills and expertise to help home owners in Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island avoid the common remodeling New York pitfalls by matching their needs with prescreened Home Improvement Contractors. Visit us for more on Home Improvement Products